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Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” His second memoir Between the World and Me was a hugely acclaimed and best selling book, shortlisted for the National Book Award. In 2015, Coates was awarded a MacArthur Genius Award.

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  • Black History Month Reading List

    In the United Kingdom, October is Black History Month. The celebration was originally introduced in 1926 on the initiative of Carter G. Woodson, the editor of the Journal of Negro History. In 2007, no fewer than 6,000 events were held in the UK as part of its programme. 

    In November, we will be launching set 13 of the Radical Thinkers series focussing on Black radicalism, including WEB Du Bois’s autobiographical essay
    Darkwater, and Michele Wallace’s consideration of the late-twentieth century black female experience in America, Invisibility Blues.

    To mark Black History Month, we're proud to present Verso titles past and present that are essential to the study and celebration of African and Caribbean history.

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  • Rebel Without a Pause: A playlist from Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Beautiful Struggle

    For the young daydreamer Ta-Nehisi Coates, now hailed as the "James Joyce of the hip-hop generation," the sounds of hip-hop were seductive diversions from his father's strict programme of study. But in the summer of 1988, Ta-Nehisi's Consciousness bloomed to KRS-One and Public Enemy. Hip-hop, for young Ta-Na, boosted the words of his father, a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization.

    To mark the publication of The Beautiful Strugglean extraordinary coming-of-age story by the author of the NYT bestseller Between the World and Me, we present a playlist of the music from the book, annotated with extracts. Set in Baltimore during the 1980s, hip-hop is the main soundtrack to Coates' youth in a city on the verge of chaos where a boy needed to learn The Knowledge fast.


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  • “He was a slave still, and all around him black people heaved under the invisible yoke”—Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Baldwin, Wright, and Malcolm were the first signs that led him onto another path, one he followed until enveloped by a forest of black books… where others saw America in lovely columns, marvels of engineering, and refined democrats, Dad saw only masks concealing the heralds of woe. He was a slave still, and all around him black people heaved under the invisible yoke.” Ta-Nehisi Coates

    The Beautiful Struggle is an extraordinary memoir from Ta-Nehisi Coates - one of the the most important new voices in the US race debate and the author of New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading.”

    What follows is an exclusive extract from his memoir (out this month), in which he recalls his father's journey of political discovery; recognising his own experiences in the writing of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Malcolm X, through to joining the ranks of the Black Panthers in Baltimore in the 1970s.

    - Image from The Atlantic “White Privilege” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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